Lancashire awards new bus contracts

Buses in Lancashire are to get major improvements as the county council awards contracts for new services due to start in December.

The council’s new administration has agreed to make an extra £1 million available to support bus services, increasing the budget from £2 million to £3 million.

Key priorities are to restore lost links between communities, increase the frequency of services on routes where there is more demand, and stabilise the network to support routes which might otherwise disappear.

Key improvements include: a network of Fylde Villager services to restore links to rural villages and increase the number of buses on routes between Preston, Lytham and Blackpool; improvements to buses serving areas of Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire, restoring links to rural villages, and increase the number of buses; a new network of Pendleside Link services to restore rural village links and increase the number of buses across the Ribble Valley, Burnley and Pendle; and improvements to some services in Lancaster, with revised timetables and improved service reliability.

Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “A good public transport network is vital to support our economy, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access work and education. It also plays a vital role in helping people to carry out everyday tasks such as doing their shopping, visiting family and friends, and getting to health appointments.

"All county councillors have been involved in shaping these improvements by offering their local knowledge about where people will most benefit by being able to use public transport where there's currently no service at all, or where having more frequent services will make using the bus a much more convenient option than it is at present.

"We've worked hard to make sure these proposals make the most impact with the resources available and have already had some really positive feedback from people who have told us that these improved services will make a real difference to them.

"A number of improvements to services will start in December but we're also continuing discussions with bus operators in some areas of the county where we think the best option is to enhance an existing commercial service to better serve communities."

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